Home & Garden

Fall DIY comfort foods

What says comfort for lunch and dinner on a crisp and cool day? In my book it’s a hot bowl of tomato soup and crispy crackers. This is a great way to use the abundance of tomatoes you picked from your garden. Enjoy these simple DIY (money-saving) recipes, be creative with additions (leftover chicken is always a great soup addition) and toppings. Enjoy!

Creamy Tomato Soup

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 red onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 14.5 oz cans of organic diced tomatoes
1 can coconut milk
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Black pepper to taste

In a large soup pan, saute the onion in 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil until the onions start to turn brown.
Add the garlic and saute for another minute or two.
In a food processor combine the 2 cans of diced tomatoes and the cooked onion and garlic mixture and blend until smooth.
Pour the mixture back into the soup pot.
Add the coconut milk, and spices and bring to a boil.
Simmer for 10 minutes and serve!
Serves 3-4.
Recipe: Sarah Fregoso

Low-carb salt and pepper crackers

2 cups blanched almond flour (not almond meal, which is too coarse)
1 large egg
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Servings: 20

Place almond flour, egg, salt, and pepper in a food processor
Pulse until dough forms
Separate dough into two halves
Place each half of dough between two pieces of parchment paper
Roll out dough to 1/16-inch thick, then remove top piece of parchment paper
Transfer bottom piece of parchment paper with rolled out dough onto baking sheet
Cut into 2-inch squares using a pizza cutter or a knife
Sprinkle with extra salt and pepper if desired
Bake at 350°F for 6-10 minutes
Recipe: elanaspantry.com 

Spicy roasted pumpkin seeds

1½ cups raw, fresh pumpkin seeds
½ teaspoon salt, plus additional for soaking
2 tablespoons avocado oil
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon cumin

Remove seeds from pumpkin and wash off leftover flesh
Soak pumpkin seeds in warm water with salt for 8 hours at room temperature
Remove the pumpkin seeds from water and let dry on a baking sheet at room temperature for 8 hours
Preheat oven to 300 degrees
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine
Spread the seasoned seeds on a baking sheet, bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown, tossing every 10 minutes
If needed, increase the temperature to 400 for additional time until browned
Watch carefully for burning
Store in a jar for up to one week.

I  visted the fall festivities at Northern Lights Christmas Tree Farm, an amazing annual tradition that Bob and Lynn Schutte started many years ago. There was a coffee shop, a hot dog stand, local rock cover band Vinyl Revival, the corn maze and of course the pumpkin patch. 

Did you know that winter squash and pumpkins were originally grown just for their seeds? Long ago, the flesh of these gourds was either tasteless or bitter, much unlike our current flavorful varieties. Pumpkin seeds contain antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin E and protective phytonutrients. This diverse mixture of antioxidants in pumpkin seeds may provide them with antioxidant-related properties that are not widely found in other foods. 

Pumpkin seeds have long been valued as a special source of zinc. Shelled roasted pumpkin seeds (sometimes called pumpkin seed kernels) contain about 7-8 milligrams of zinc per ¼ cup. They can be enjoyed raw as well, and in our house we use the raw seeds as a pesto ingredient. 

Because oxidative stress is known to play a role in the development of some cancer, and pumpkin seeds are unique in their composition of antioxidant nutrients, it’s not surprising to find some preliminary evidence of decreased prostate or breast cancer risk in association with pumpkin seed intake. 



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